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Jacobs Prevails In Race For 53rd District Congressional Seat

53rd Congressional Candidates Georgette Gómez (left) and Sara Jacobs (right) in this undated photo.
Campaign Photos
53rd Congressional Candidates Georgette Gómez (left) and Sara Jacobs (right) in this undated photo.
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Sara Jacobs has been declared the winner in the race for the 53rd Congressional District.

UPDATE: 9:50 p.m., Nov. 3, 2020

Sara Jacobs has been declared the winner in the race for the 53rd Congressional District. She defeated San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez.

Jacobs, who describes herself as "a practical progressive," is the granddaughter of of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs.

Original Story

Sara Jacobs is ahead in early returns in the race for the 53rd Congressional District. As the first ballots are reported, Jacobs has 59% of the vote to Georgette Gomez's 41%.

For the first time in nearly 20 years California's 53rd Congressional District will have new representation.

Democrats Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gómez are vying to fill the seat, replacing outgoing Democratic Rep. Susan Davis. Davis surprised many when she announced last year she was retiring from the 53rd seat, which she has held since 2003. The 53rd covers a large part of the county including sections of San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista.

Sara Jacobs is a childhood anti-poverty advocate who is the granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs. (Irwin Jacobs is a major supporter of KPBS.) Georgette Gómez is the current city of San Diego Council President.

More than a dozen candidates ran for the seat in the March Primary. Jacobs garnered 29% of the vote while Gómez had 20%.

As of September, 46% of registered voters in the district were Democrats while 22% identify as Republicans.

RELATED: San Diego Democratic Party — Again — Accuses Sara Jacobs Of ‘Misleading’ Statements

Jacobs describes herself as "a practical progressive" and believes the only way to get things done in Washington D.C. is by building coalitions. She thinks voters value her experience working as a contractor in the State Department.

"I think that a lot of voters really value the fact that I have experience working in the federal government working on federal policy issues — that I have experience on the domestic and international issues that will be coming before Congress," Jacobs said.

RELATED: Gómez Campaign Ad Falsely Ties Jacobs To ‘Trump’ Tax Cuts

Gómez considers herself a progressive, but said her time on city council proves she can work with Republicans. She said voters need someone who understands them at a personal level. She said because she grew up poor, she can relate to people going through tough times.

"I’ve lived, personally lived housing insecurity at one time in my life," Gómez said. "Growing up pretty humbling with very little resources, having parents that had multiple jobs but they still, at the end of the day, we were living paycheck by paycheck."

Both candidates believe the next Congress will be dealing heavily with COVID-19 relief. Jacobs and Gómez want to see a second relief package passed.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive order for all new cars in the state to be zero emissions by 2035, both candidates agree that is a necessary step toward reducing our carbon footprint.

When it comes to tacking the housing crisis, Jacobs wants to provide emergency assistance in the form of housing vouchers and rental aid, increase federal homeless aid and add a rental tax credit, "so that any family who pays more than 30% of their income on rent gets assistance through the tax code."

Gómez said whether it is building low-income units or housing for people who are homeless, it starts with hearing from the community.

"You need to make sure you’re out there talking to your constituents and saying, 'This is why it’s important that we make our backyard available,'" Gómez said. "People want us to resolve the issue related to people living in the streets, but the only way we're going to resolve it — it’s not through rocket science — we need to build units. We need to ensure that we have the necessary resources and that’s where Congress needs to come in."